Many years ago I stayed in the house of a German couple who lived in Upper Bavaria. I was mesmerised by the awesome nature of their surroundings. Their house was in the foothills of the German Alps and the snow-capped mountains seemed to be within touching distance. The meadow and pasturelands were lush green in colour and were ideal for feeding the large, almost-purple coloured cows. There was something very soothing about the tranquillity of the area. Walking along the small country roads bordering the verdant fields, breathing in the mountain air which was so clean and fresh was such a delight. One could always hear the deep chiming of the large cow bells as the lumbering animals moved slowly around their lush territory.
So why do I bring this up in My Daily Art Display ? The reason is that throughout my stay with this young German couple all they could talk about was having a holiday in the Highlands of Scotland. I couldn’t believe it. Here they were situated in the middle of what I believed was Shangri-la and all they wanted was to go and see some beautiful Scottish scenery. Although I have to agree that the Scottish Highlands are beautiful, I just wondered why this young German husband and wife could not recognise that they were living in an equally beautiful place and there was no need to search out foreign splendour when they had their own natural grandeur on their doorstep
I suppose it is a case of never fully appreciating what you have. I marvel at the splendour of foreign landscape paintings and have featured some, as was the case yesterday in My Daily Art Display, and I thought that maybe I should be looking closer to home. Today, I have done just that and looked at pictures of places which are just a few miles from where I live. My Daily Art Display today features a couple of paintings of the wild mountainous areas of Snowdonia by the local artist Malcolm Edwards. There is a brutality about the harsh landscapes with its precipitous rock strewn slopes, jagged summits and dark threatening skies. There is an air of foreboding and even claustrophobia as one looks upwards towards the towering peaks.
A number of the artist’s pictures take in the disused slate and granite quarries which have been hewn out of mountain sides with unforgiving savagery, often with fruitless results. It is as if God and his elements have stacked the terrain and the inclement weather against the prospectors who have in most cases given up their search for financial glory.
The first watercolour is of Ty Ucha, Nant Gwrtheyrn a former homestead of generations of farmers and granite quarrymen. The large cities of Liverpool and Manchester in the mid nineteenth century were expanding rapidly and needed the raw building materials such as granite for road building. Nant Gwrtheyrn was once a busy little quarry village on the Llyn Peninsula’s northern coast which supplied such material but sadly the granite boom was short lived with the advent of tarmac and when the mines ceased operating the village died and the residents, the quarrymen and their families moved on. The other work is entitled Golgyfan which really shows the brutal and desolate landscape with its dark greys and black colours, which add an ominous and threatening element to the picture. Note the man with the shepherd’s crook and his sheepdog, which were trademarks in a number of Malcolm Edwards’s pictures.